Friday, November 13, 2009

Fighting for an identity

Yesterday, the topic of the day among all Swedish speaking Finns, to which I happily belong, was the news about one of our major TV channel announcing that they might close down the only channel in Swedish if cuts are necessary due to the economic crisis we find ourselves.

This piece of news, probably not meant to cause all this attention, started a chain reaction. Immediately, a discussion about this was awoken on our biggest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat's internet site, and not merely a discussion but it was the question of the day.

The newspaper has on a daily basis a question of the day at it wasn't anything of out the ordinary that there was one yesterday. The ironic part though was that yesterday about 30 000 people answered to the question of the day, when usually it's around only eight thousand. Why? Obviously because Swedish speaking Finns react to things like this very strongly. In fact, earlier that day, I received three SMSes telling me to please go and tell my opinion about this question. Somehow an every day question of the day was suddenly important.

This made me think about our dimishing role in the Finnish society. If we can't have our TV channel, what else are we not allowed to have? Is this truly the beginning of a larger chain reaction where our rights are reduced? Are we making history right now, studying in Swedish and having a childhood where we have been allowed to support our roots and traditions?

I certainly hope not. I refuse to give up this battle for the right of our future children. Sometimes the Finnish reality scares me. If our identity's cornerstone, our language, is made into to something invisible in everyday life for regular Finns, do we still exist?

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